In case you live under a rock, the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a college entrance exam created by the College Board to test your aptitude and preparedness for college. The SAT is comprised of three sections: reading, writing and language, and math (calculator and no-calculator). The SAT is used by colleges to determine an applicant’s eligibility. The scores you receive on the SAT are one of the top deciding factors for college admissions, so it’s really important to prepare for the exam in advance. It is recommended to begin test preparations at least 3 months before your scheduled exam.
General SAT Preparation Tips
The list below is filled with the top general SAT preparation tips so you can be as prepared as possible for this exam. It can also be helpful to hire someone for SAT prep tutoring or even attending an SAT prep class.
Read the section directions carefully
Make sure to read over and review the instructions provided for each section carefully before starting the section. Use the time they give you before the test to read the section directions so that you don’t waste any time having to go over them during the actual exam.
Answer the easier questions first
A lot of times, students will get tripped up on one question and they spend too much time on it rather than marking it for later and continuing on with the exam. The test questions usually appear from easiest to hardest, so definitely try to start with those questions first. If you get stuck on a question, mark it for later and move on and come back to it later.
Eliminate incorrect answers
For each SAT question, there is only one right answer. It can be helpful to cross out incorrect answers in your exam booklet. Oftentimes, eliminating the wrong answers can lead you to the correct one.
Answer everything, even if you have to guess
The newest version of the SAT doesn’t penalize students for guessing the wrong answer. If you really don’t know the answer even after crossing out the ones you think are wrong, the best strategy is to just make an educated guess. If you leave it blank, you get no points, but if you fill it out and actually get the answer right, you end up earning points, so you might as well just guess.
Keep your answer sheet tidy
Since the SAT answer sheet is fed through a machine that calculates your score, it’s important to make sure your answer sheet is pristine. This machine can’t tell the difference between a correct answer and a stray mark, so it’s important to not doodle on the answer sheet. When filling in your answer choice, make sure to fully fill in the bubble and use enough pressure to ensure the machine can read it properly.
Make the best out of your test booklet
While you can’t write on your answer sheet, you can write in your test booklet. You can mark unanswered questions, cross out incorrect answers, make notes, and write down whatever you need to answer the question. Nothing that you write in your test booklet will contribute to your score.
Pay close attention to your answer sheet
When choosing your answers, pay close attention. Double-check the question numbers on both your test booklet and answer sheet, especially when skipping a question. This is to ensure that you put your final answer in the correct number slot on the answer sheet.
Don’t lose track of time
The SAT is a timed test, so it is important that you keep track of the time. We recommend that you have your own watch so that you can check the time occasionally. For simpler questions, spend only a few seconds on them and for harder questions, spend maybe a minute or two before moving on.
Make sure you understand the questions before answering them
Do not try and rush through questions by skimming through them. Don’t let yourself make careless mistakes just because you were too hasty to get through the exam.
Remember your possible mistakes
During your SAT test preparation, you probably made certain mistakes, whether it was time pressure, carelessness, or issues with reading comprehension. Learn from the struggles you faced during SAT test preparation and try not to make those same mistakes while taking the real exam.
Know the ins and outs of the exam
Become familiar with the exam format by using practice exams during your SAT test preparation. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves and increase your confidence when going into the real exam. The SAT exam features 52 questions for the Reading section, 44 questions for the Writing and Language section, 58 questions in the Math section, and 1 essay question.
Why you should consider SAT test preparation tutoring
The SAT exam is a complex exam that requires a lot of preparation if you want to obtain a high score. While you can definitely choose to study for this exam on your own, it can be very beneficial to hire an expert. When you work with an SAT test preparation tutor one-on-one, you get a personalized experience that can help you hone in on your strengths and weaknesses. An SAT preparation tutor will assist you in continuing to build upon those strengths while also significantly improving the areas you need to work on. You will be able to move at your own pace, so if you’re struggling to fully grasp a concept, a private SAT preparation tutor can slow down and spend more time with you on that subject in comparison to a cookie-cutter SAT preparation class.
Don’t let test anxiety consume you. Hire an SAT test preparation tutor to help you master the art of the SAT so that when the day comes to take the real exam, you go in feeling good because you know you did everything you possibly could to prepare.